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The high cost of downtime part 2


3 failover choices and tips for finding the best solution

As we discussed in our previous post about failover (The High Cost of Downtime Part 1), network outage can impact both revenue and reputation. In this post we will look at some of the connectivity options available, and provide some tips on 4G solutions that might be right for your organization.

Generally speaking, there are three options for increasing Internet availability, decreasing downtime, and addressing the problem of having just a single connection to your network:

1.     Purchasing network technology upgrades

2.     Adding wired redundancy

3.     Deploying a 4G LTE failover solution.

Technology Upgrade

One of the greatest acronyms ever coined has got to be POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service. Neither POTS nor another common Internet-access solution, ISDN (Integrated Services for Digital Network), offer enough bandwidth or reliability to run mission-critical applications. By upgrading from Ethernet, DSL, or cable to T1 lines, enterprises can increase Internet availability and reduce downtime from an average of 4 hours to about 15 minutes per month (no small thing with enterprise downtime loses estimated to be as high as $300,00 per hour). The problem is that T1 offers just about the same amount of bandwidth as DSL or cable—for a larger cost per month, and it doesn’t address the redundancy issue. 

Wired Redundancy

For obvious reasons, having two lines buried in the same trench or strung between poles doesn’t provide much in the way of failover either. The cost to distributed enterprises of adding wired redundancy to hundreds (or thousands) of locations can be prohibitive. Furthermore, for each location IT must wait until the local DSL or cable provider has time run the wires. In other words, even the largest enterprises become dependent on other, often much smaller, companies’ abilities to effectively schedule installations.

4G LTE Failover 

Not surprisingly, we think 4G LTE provides the most reliable solution with the greatest uptime, the most competitive price, and the highest bandwidth. When evaluating a wireless solution for your business continuity needs, there are three things to consider:

1.Does the solution offer simple, scalable deployment, maintenance, and control over hundreds or thousands of distributed locations?
Truck rolls to fix IT problems are expensive and so is having trained IT staff at each location.  Distributed enterprises need network connectivity solutions that are simple enough for untrained personnel to set up, but that are backed up by central configuration, monitoring, and control. Central control is particularly helpful when the solution is for failover protection because it enables highly trained IT staff to monitor and balance data usage for maximum return on investment.

2.Does the router integrate with existing network infrastructure or provide an all-in-one solution to replace current router and modem setups?
Enterprises seeking “overlay failover,” a drop-in solution that meshes with the existing wired primary connection, should seek an IP pass-through solution with the ability to convert broadband signal to Ethernet.

3.Does the solution enable various network security architectures such as Virtual Private Networking (VPN), cloud-based security, network segmentation, and/or parallel networks?
Enterprises in general have come under increased threat from hackers. Because distributed enterprises frequently transmit highly sensitive POS data without security trained IT personal on site, remote locations may see even more attacks as hackers increasingly view them as “soft” targets.

As with the primary network, the business continuity solution should be optimized for maximum security and PCI compliance so that a primary network outage does not constitute a security risk. Finally, an ideal failover solution should have the flexibility to merge with the enterprise’s existing security architecture.